The Bichon Frise or curly-haired bichon is an excellent companion animal, cheerful and lively that adapts to the life of its owners. It is a small and playful breed. In addition to a tender appearance with its white, curly and fluffy coat, it is usually a very well-balanced breed.
- General Build. The overall physical appearance of the Bichon Frise is characterized by its white, curly coat.
- Size and Weight. It’s a small dog with a weight that usually ranges around 11 Pounds and a shoulder height between 9.84 and 11.41 Inches.
- Color. Regarding colors, the Bichon Frise is pure white. It’s worth noting that the FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale) only recognizes the Bichon Frise in pure white color. However, it may have some beige areas up to 12 months of age.
- Coat. The Bichon Frise’s coat is known for its white, curly hair. This type of curly hair consists of small white ringlets, giving it that silky and plush appearance. The length of the coat can reach up to 2.75- 4 Inches in some areas. In the Bichon Frise care section, we explain how to take care of its fur.
- It is a small dog with large, floppy ears. It tends to be longer than it is wide, giving it an elegant look.
- It has a muscular back and a tail with low-set, fluffy insertion, which is always carried inclined towards the back but never curled.
- Its eyes and nose are always dark.
The Bichon Frise is a small, cheerful, and affectionate dog that adores family life. It’s active and playful, enjoying being with its owners and playing with children, provided they handle it with care due to its small size, which makes it susceptible to injury during rough play. It’s highly sociable, not timid or aggressive, making it easy to interact with strangers.
The Bichon Frise thrives on the affection and companionship of its family. It is a naturally sensitive dog, and these aspects are essential to ensure its happiness.
Living Together. The Bichon Frise breed stands out as an excellent choice for a first pet due to its ease of coexistence. It’s small, cheerful, affectionate, intelligent, and docile.
Training. It is always advisable to train our dogs in a set of household rules, such as where to relieve themselves, walking schedules, and where to sleep. Thanks to the Bichon Frise’s intelligence, it is not difficult to instruct, and it eagerly seeks to please its owner. It always displays a willing attitude to learn.
Circus Breed. Remember that the Bichon Frise is a breed that was once used as a circus dog, which makes it adept at learning tricks and freestyle routines.
Sociable. While the Bichon Frise is naturally sociable and cheerful, it may not need specific training to socialize with other pets of similar size or people outside the family. However, it’s advisable to socialize it with larger dog breeds from a young age since they may tend to be wary of bigger dogs, often barking excessively in their presence. Nevertheless, the Bichon Frise is generally not prone to excessive barking or aggression.
Tolerance to Solitude. The Bichon Frise does not tolerate solitude well. It requires a great deal of companionship to feel comfortable, making it unsuitable for families that spend long hours away from home. It’s important to note that they can become destructive if left alone for extended periods.
Living with Children. The curly-haired Bichon is an excellent choice as a companion for both children and adults. Its playfulness, cheerfulness, and dynamism make it get along famously with children as long as they play with it gently and do not harm it. Teaching children to treat their dog with respect and responsibility is essential.
Relationship with Other Pets. It is a very sociable dog with a good nature, typically getting along well with other pets. If raised together, it’s highly likely that they will be good companions.
Coat Care. The Bichon Frise’s coat tends to tangle easily, so it’s advisable to brush it daily to keep it clean and silky, preventing tangles. We recommend taking it to a groomer every 2-3 months.
The Bichon Frise has an abundant coat that hardly sheds. Daily brushing removes loose hair and keeps the mane clean and silky.
Hygiene. We recommend bathing it as needed and using special shampoos for white-coated dogs approximately every three weeks. Regarding its eyes, keep in mind that its eye discharge should be cleaned to maintain eye area hygiene, and you should trim the bangs to prevent injuries.
Activity. Concerning its activity, it is a dynamic dog that requires attention. However, being small in size, it doesn’t need much space to run around. Therefore, the small Frise is suitable for apartment living. Ensure it has two daily walks and some playtime. It’s also advisable to let it play with dogs of similar stature.
Feeding. To keep your Bichon Frise in good health, proper nutrition and hydration are essential. Always keep its water bowl full, allowing it to hydrate as needed, especially after exercise or during hot weather. The Bichon Frise is usually not very picky about food and adapts well to various types of food for its breed. Remember to avoid sugar in its diet.
Pros and Cons
Advantages of Bichon Frise:
- The Bichon Frise is an excellent companion dog, affectionate and docile, making it a fantastic first dog.
- It typically gets along well with children and other domestic animals, except for larger dogs, which it may bark at excessively.
Disadvantages of Bichon Frise:
- It is a sensitive dog that needs the company of its owners. Prolonged periods of solitude can lead to depression or destructive behaviors. If it has a compatible pet companion, it can make the hours of owner absence more manageable.
- Daily walks and playtime are necessary.
- Daily brushing is required to prevent its silky white coat from tangling.
Generally, the Bichon Frise is a healthy breed with few common health issues. However, some diseases are known to occur with relative frequency in this breed:
- Medial Patellar Luxation: This condition involves the weakening of the kneecaps.
- Juvenile Cataracts: These cataracts develop in dogs under 6 years of age and can be detected during regular veterinary check-ups, with surgical solutions available.
- Bladder Stones: This issue often results from an excess of protein, magnesium, or phosphorus in the dog’s diet. Frequent walks can help prevent the stones from forming by ensuring the dog urinates regularly. Symptoms of bladder stones include frequent urination, general discomfort, and fatigue. It is essential to consult a veterinarian when suspecting any problems. Surgical solutions are available for treating bladder stones.
- Tooth Loss: Like many other breeds, Bichon Frise dogs may experience dental issues in old age. Regular dental hygiene is crucial for pets.
- Allergies: Dogs can suffer from allergies, and the Bichon Frise is prone to flea allergies. Keep your pet dewormed and apply a spot-on treatment as recommended by your veterinarian.
History and Origin
The Bichon Frise has European origins, particularly believed to be of French origin.
In the past, it was known as the “barbet” or “barbichon,” which was later shortened to Bichon. The breed emerged through the crossing of barbets or water dogs with small white lapdogs (now extinct). This crossbreeding resulted in the Poodle and various Bichon breeds. There are four varieties of Bichon breeds: the Maltese Bichon, Bolognese Bichon, Bichon Havanese, and Tenerife Bichon.
The Tenerife Bichon is the direct ancestor of the modern Bichon Frise.
In the 1200s and 1300s, it is believed that this breed was brought to Tenerife, the Canary Islands, by Spanish sailors.
Around 1500, this breed became popular in European courts, including France during the reign of Henry III, as well as in Napoleon’s empire, Spain, and Italy. Examples of this breed can even be seen in Renaissance art, such as paintings by Francisco de Goya. After the French Revolution and World War I, this breed transitioned from the courts to survival on the streets, leading to stronger genetic traits.
In the 1930s, several French breeders revived the breed under the name Bichon Frise. The term “Bichon Frise” means “curly-haired small dog.”
In 1934, it was officially registered with the French Kennel Club.
In the 1950s, the breed was imported to the United States by the Picault family, a French family. Since then, the Bichon Frise has gained popularity in the Americas and Europe. Thanks to its good nature, ease of training, and physical resilience, which makes them tireless, this breed was used in circus performances and dog shows. Today, they are primarily kept as companion animals.
The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1973, and the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) definitively recognized the breed in October 1959, publishing its most recent official standard in April 2016. It is classified in Group 9: Companion and Toy Dogs, Section 1: Bichons and Related Breeds.
Numerous dog associations have recognized this breed, including well-known ones like the American Kennel Club (AKC), the United Kennel Club (UKC), and the FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale), which recognizes the breed in Group IX: Companion Dogs. Other associations that have recognized the breed include the Japanese Canine Club, the Argentine Kennel Club, and the Canadian Kennel Club.
The extensive recognition of the breed by different associations allows for well-researched guidance and references when determining the breed’s purity.